Fishing around Glacier National Park and throughout the Flathead Valley is starting to heat up. Bugs are coming off, trout are on the move, and plenty of people are getting out and enjoying everything this area has to offer. Here’s a report from what has been happening lately on some of our local waters.
Those that have been out on the big river have had a front row seat to one of the greatest shows in the Flathead Valley. The annual procession of Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi. A.K.A the west slope cutthroat trout, cutties, or the red throated trout. With intermittent pushes of cutthroat trout moving into the river system some days have offered some pretty good fishing. Other days, not so much. But thats the spring time tradition on the big river.
Most trout have been found holding in “winter water” but don’t neglect fishing faster water. Winter water consist of stalled currents or slow moving water. Think inside bends or seam lines beside riffles and drops. A few trout have been observed in the faster water. I would suspect as our water temperatures continue to rise we will see more and more trout moving into fast water. Bug activity has been pretty darn good with impressive hatches of midges, the occasional stonefly, and a few small baetis (mayflies). The bobber has been king but you should be prepared for all types of fishing in the spring time. If the dry fly opportunity presents itself, you might just have a great day using dry flies.
We have seen trout eat a variety of dry flies ranging from foam hopper patterns to small midges. Flies to consider are Griffith’s knats, Goober midges, purple haze, Klinkhammers, chubby chernobyl’s, Jake’s trigger belly, and Terk’s tarantulas.
Fishing the bobber rig is probably the most productive method to catch fish this time of year. With that being said, if one was tired of staring at the bobber, I would recommend using a dry-dropper rig. If you’re not exactly sure what a dry-dropper rig is? Learn more here. Keep your flies big and bright. Worms with tungsten beads in all sorts of colors have been consistent. Other flies to consider are Pat’s rubber legs, frenchies, hot beaded jig nymphs, more worms.
Not much of a change in this department. Fish them deep, slow, and with confidence. Sparkle minnows, clousers, small buggers, and leeches are all a good choice. Sink tips are important this time of year. The lower in the water column you can get the streamer the better odds you have at running it in front of a trout holding in winter water. Have faith, keep chucking the streamer, retrieve, repeat.
Our small water season is officially here! We are so fortunate to have a variety of smaller water within a two hour radius of the Flathead Valley. The water is slightly up in some drainages due to low elevation snow melt. This paired with a variety of bug hatches coming off has created some exciting fishing opportunities. Dry fly fishing hasn’t been stellar but the bobber bite (nymphing) has been pretty good. Fish are hanging out in a variety of water but the slower (picture walking speed) water has produced the most trout. Trout have eaten a variety of different bugs so you can get pretty creative in your rigging set up.
There have been several different types of mayflies and midges coming off but we haven’t seen many trout committing to the dry fly. Don’t worry though. Good dry fly fishing in our smaller water is just around the corner.
The bobber rig. Otherwise known as the golden ticket these days on our smaller water has picked up the most trout. Leaders have been long. The flies have been heavy. The trout have been eating them. Stoneflies, mayflies, worms, and small midge patterns have all found their way into the mouths of trout this week. Trout have been relatively deep. At least 2/3rd of the way down the water column most days. Pockets and deeper holes have produced the most trout. Flies to consider are as follows. Frenchies, pheasant tails, micro mayflies, worms of all colors, golden stoneflies, pat’s rubber legs, copper johns, twenty inches, hares ears, and Kauffman Stoneflies.
It’s still winter out on most of our lakes. I would suspect with the upcoming weather patterns that it will be a short amount of time and we will be out fishing open water.
Enjoy it out there folks! Be well and if you have any comments or suggestions feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.